Increase of Certain Fatty Acids Can Help Reduce Migraine Severity

By | July 9, 2021

Migraine is among the biggest reasons for disability worldwide. Current treatment options are sometimes inadequate for providing complete relief for sufferers. Research has found that a change in diet provides one more option sufferers are able to use in their attempt to have less headaches and migraines.

Polyunsaturated fatty acids, which the body doesn’t produce, have increased significantly in our diet as a result of addition of oils like cottonseed, soybean and corn to a lot of processed foods such as granola, crackers and chips.

Polyunsaturated fatty acid classes looked at in this research were omega-6 (n-6) and omega-3 (n-3). Each have important functions in the body, but should be consumed in balance, as n-3 fatty acids have been found to reduce inflammation and a number of derivatives of n-6 have been found to promote pain. But, because of the quantity of processed food ingested nowadays, the majority of individuals in the U.S. are consuming considerably more n-6 and less n-3 fatty acids.

To see if the quantity of these fatty acids in an individual’s diet might affect pain from headaches, 182 individuals currently identified as having as well as having treatment for migraines were took part in this randomized, controlled trial. Besides their current treatments, participants followed 1 of 3 diets for 16 weeks: a control diet which maintained the average quantity of n-6 and n-3 fatty acids that an individual residing in the U.S. eats, a diet which increased n-3 and maintained n-6 fatty acids, and a diet which increased n-3 and reduced n-6 fatty acids. Individuals were given 2/3 of their daily food requirements, and were also provided an electronic diary to record the amount of hours every day they experienced headache pain.

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Individuals following either diet had less pain in comparison to the control group. Individuals following the diet high in n-3 fatty acids and low in n-6 had the most significant improvement.

Individuals reported less days per month with headaches, and several could actually reduce the quantity of medication they required for their pain. The effect seen for the reduction of headaches is comparable to what is seen with certain medications. This research exclusively tested n-3 fatty acids from fish rather than from dietary supplements, and the results are not applicable to supplement use.

Fatty Acids Infographic

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